Sitecore's versioning policy is aligned with the wider software industry. Our definitions in these areas, including the notion of a feature release, an update, and a hotfix, are described here.
A feature release adds significant functionality to a product.
Sitecore encourages customers to use new feature releases when they have projects that require the functionality that is added in a release.
Sitecore names feature releases with a unique two-level version number.
For example: Sitecore Experience Platform 10.0.
An update resolves a set of issues associated with a specific product version.
Sitecore encourages customers to always install the latest update to ensure the latest fixes are included in their solution. It is important to note that updates are cumulative — Update-2 of a version contains everything that was in Update-1.
Starting from Sitecore XP 10.0, updates do not introduce breaking changes, behavior changes, or new features. If a breaking change needs to be introduced, for example, for security reasons, it would be disabled by default and customers would have to enable it specifically in configuration.
Sitecore names updates with a two-level version number that matches the corresponding feature release and a label that specifies the update number.
For example: Sitecore Experience Platform 10.1 Update-1.
To resolve the support issues that are identified as bugs in the product, Sitecore Support will work with the customer to determine the best way to address the issue.
In some situations, when no workaround for the product bug is available, Sitecore may provide individual customers with a hotfix to resolve a specific issue identified as part of the investigation.
All the hotfixes delivered by Sitecore undergo the full quality assurance cycle and are commonly delivered within a four-week time frame.
The hotfixes provided by Sitecore Support may be cumulative, meaning that they may include changes from the hotfixes previously created for other Sitecore customers.
The fixes included in a Sitecore hotfix are also eventually included in a public Update or Feature Release.
Customers should only apply hotfixes if they are experiencing a specific issue the hotfix is addressing. Additionally, before applying a hotfix, customers should always confirm with Sitecore Support its compatibility with their Sitecore version, as well as confirm that there are no potential conflicts with other installed hotfixes.
Starting from Sitecore XP 10.1, Sitecore distributes the pre-releases of the next update release to provide customers with fixes for their hotfix requests. For more details about pre-releases, refer to Sitecore XP pre-releases.
To get the latest cumulative hotfix compatible with the affected product version, check the Knowledge Base for the corresponding Support Information article.
Naming examples for Sitecore hotfix packages look like this:
SC Hotfix 156031-1 CMS.Core 10.0.4
Sitecore CMS 8.1 rev. 151207 Hotfix 148802-1
Sitecore 10.1.2 rev. 006059 PRE (DELTA WDP XM1 packages)